Practicing Patience

The Virtues of Patience in Caregiving

By Robin Brown, Writer/Editor for Finding Faith and Hope Again

They say that patience is a virtue—a high character trait. Oh, how quickly that trait can be tested when dealing with life circumstances. As caregiver to an aging parent, I would say my patience has been tested more than a time or two over the past few years. However, I also notice how my 90-year-old mother loses patience with herself when she finds herself forgetting things she should remember. This trait of patience is certainly not an easy one to maintain, but one thing I know for certain is that we serve a merciful, loving God who gives us grace through it all.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5 tells us, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no account of wrongs.”

As Believers, when we love as Christ loves us, we find it much easier to be patient with not only ourselves, but with our loved ones, as well. It’s easy to lose our composure when we’re not walking in His love and grace on a daily basis. It’s also easy to get frustrated with our parents when simple tasks take twice as long, or conversations have to be repeated. But it’s equally as frustrating for them whenever they can’t find their misplaced hearing aids again, or they have a hard time buttoning a blouse and putting on shoes that day. Just getting to the doctor’s appointment is exhausting enough, especially if you’re late, and now you have to…patiently wait.

Ephesians 4:2 so kindly reminds, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.”

Let’s face it, getting older isn’t easy. Being a full-time caregiver isn’t easy, either. Our patience is always tested in one way or another. But, when we step back and take a (patient) loving breath, we can love one another with all the grace we’ve been given by God each day. A gentle touch, a compassionate hug, an encouraging word spoken…It’s these things that mean so much to us when we struggle with the virtue of patience. Compassion and grace go a long way when we remind ourselves that no one is perfect, we’re all doing the best we can, and each of us is loved by God. We are His children, after all…regardless of our age.

So, the next time your loved one struggles while getting dressed, reach out, touch their hand, giggle about how small these silly little buttons are nowadays. Sing a favorite hymn or song as you search for those disappearing hearing aids—again. “Where, oh where, have my hearing aids gone?” Lighten things up a bit. Choose fun over frustration. Joy over anger. Life will always have its challenges, but it’s how we choose to go through each struggle that makes all the difference in our world. May we all practice more patience, kindness, and love toward ourselves and others as we go about our day. Let’s treasure this time that we get to spend with one another as we walk in God’s patient love and grace.